The supreme good is like water,

which nourishes all things without trying to.

It flows to low places loathed by all men.

Therefore, it is like the Tao.

Live in accordance with the nature of things.

In dwelling, be close to the land.

In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.

In speech, be true.

In ruling be just.

In action, watch the timing

No fight: No blame

One who lives in accordance with nature

does not go against the way of things.

He moves in harmony with the present moment,

always knowing the truth of just what to do.


The 8th verse is one of my many favorites of the Tao Te Ching. In meditation, with the goal of becoming centered I focus on the main theme of this verse; “living in the Tao is to flow as water flows.” Throughout my day, I find myself trying to control situations, or forcing situations. When I stew in this mind frame I fall in the trap of ego, and go away from the Tao. When I am un-centered in such a way, my life goes astray.

If you try to forcefully grab water; it will elude you. If you cup your hand you will be able to hold it. If you hold on to long it will lose its essence. These lessons about water hold true to our personal lives, and our ability to live with the Tao.

If we try to forcefully grab the people around us, they will be gone. If we try to hold on to tight, and deny our partners of their natural order; they grow complacent. If we allow those around us to flow free, they will meet our needs without being asked. If we think about water; it does without doing. When it rains, water does not intend to water the crops and provide plants with sustenance. Water does not try to quench our thirst, it just does. Water is the key ingredient to life, yet it does not try to be. Water is the purest form of doing without doing.

Water has no goal in mind of changing the many things it encounters, or the obstacles in its path, because of this water can literally move mountains. Water will flow, and within time it will erode the very mountains and valleys which contain it. Water flowing down the river, will not allow a rock or many rocks to stop it on its path. It goes around, over, or under. It still maintains its essence and strength, despite the obstacles it faces. When water flows past its obstacles it does not hold on to the experience it lets it go. These are valuable life lessons.

The lesson of water flowing downward, instead of upward is another valuable lesson. Water will flow down, even if it means it ends up in our sewers. Without the water in our sewers our waste would flood the streets. Water endures this place loathed by men, not because it has no choice; it just does. It does not attempt to take the highroad in order to evade this fate. We to can learn to not flow upward. We can live this in our personal and professional lives, as well as a lesson on how to treat your fellow-man.

In “The Hidden Messages in Water,” by Masaru Emoto, he explored the way this compound reacts. He discovered by respecting and loving it, we can change its crystallization process. He kept water in two separate containers with different words on each one. He discovered the containers that contained words such as “love,” “thank you,” or “your beautiful” the water became beautiful radiant crystals. The containers with words such as “you fool,” “Satan,” or “I will kill you” the crystals broke apart, were distorted, and seemed confused. This is yet another example of the significance of water. If we are made up of primarley water, and we are out of balance, or unloved the result is distortion and confusion.

Water shows us the cycle of the Tao, it comes from the Tao in the form of rain. In its existence on earth it lives the Tao lessons, by action with no action and giving without being asked. Finally it evaporates into the Tao only to fall again.

“Water of life am I, poured forth for thirsty men.”

Isaiah 44:3


  1. When you’re feeling low and you enter into a phase of self-loathing, you need to think about this verse. No, it won’t magically make things all better, but if you think of your being as water, then you can flow beyond the negativity that much easier.

  2. hames1977 says:

    this is true, we need to flow above the negativity of everyday. and discover that even a lotus can sprung forth from a murky pond. great insight!

  3. Hi there, simply became aware of your weblog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I’m gonna be careful for brussels. I will appreciate for those who proceed this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  4. […] all implement the sage advice of the eighth verse of the Tao this week. Do some experiments and share additional ideas, and your results, here. I’m definitely […]

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